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Yoga, Indian Sciences, Vedas and Tradition – Koenraad Elst: Mistaken Identity?

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The modern era is full of writers who expound the essence of Vedas, Upanishads, Mahabharat, Ramayan, Indian politics etc. Some sanskrit scholars did an indepth analysis and gave their own interpretations of the Indian scriptures. Many who did not know sanskrit gave their analysis based on the translations and interpretations done by other people. Of those who neither had a sound sanskrit knowledge or understanding of Indian culture, many ended up in distorting the Hindu scriptures under the guise of translating them. Wendy Doniger gave a sexual twist to the Indian scriptures, while Patrizia Norelli reduced them to a set of future predictions and claiming herself to be the “third” in the solar line of avatars.

There exist those who expound the philosophy of chakras in many twisted ways in the west as per their distorted interpretations, those who think yoga is just some physical exercise and can be done in many imaginative ways. Thus, we see different people are attracted to ancient Indian sciences and practices for different purposes. Some are attracted to fulfill their obsession for their fantasies and some who make a business out of those ancient Indian knowledge and practices which today are known under the umbrella term called ‘Hinduism’.

But then there exists those who promote Hinduism ‘politically’ but do not have a lucid understanding of Indian science and history. Such people usually end up distorting the facts and logic. Vedic philosophy is written as a metaphorical poetry, cryptic riddles which expounds the nature and the ultimate truth. Kenopanishad expounds it in the context of “that” and Krishna in Bhagvad Gita presents it in the form of “I and Me”. Those who could not understand this education system of Indian tradition through riddles saw it as some absurd content regarding literal meaning of cows, animals and many even misinterpreted ‘sacrifice’ as “killing”.

In the past, many distortions gave rise to the cast system ‘by birth’ thus degrading the scriptures which promote egalitarianism and varna system by ‘karma’. It was questioned by Buddha along with the animal killing practices propogated in the name of Vedas. Even today, the cast system is used by corrupt politicians for vote bank politics and sikhism is seen as disconnected from Hinduism, when on the contrary, sikhism promotes the gayatri mantra, Vedas and different manifestations or the divine elements of the same ultimate reality. Therefore, promotion of political knowledge without scriptural, spiritual and historical knowledge, may lead to serious distortion of the history and unfavourable outcomes.

One such case is of Koenraad Elst who can be seen writing pro-Hindu articles and books ‘politically’. Many Hindus admire his work and blindly follow his words. But if one analyzes carefully, he would understand that Mr.Elst is a non-practicing Hindu. He is a researcher who takes more interest in socio-cultural issues.

In his article on “The origins of Hatha Yoga“, He opines, “There too, a number of asana-s or postures is described, though important ones now popular in the Western (and westernized-Indian) yoga circuit, particularly standing ones, are still not in evidence even in these more recent texts. In the Yoga Sutra, they are totally absent. Patanjali merely defines Asana, “seat”, as “comfortable but stable”. In ancient times, a “yogi” might be someone who, as per Patanjali, practised stillness of mind; or he might be someone developing paranormal powers through concentration exercises, hence a magician. But the term “yoga” did not connote physical contortions. “

Mr. Elst seems to be ignorant of the ‘Surya Namaskar’, the age old practiced yoga series, considered as the mother of all yoga postures by many. He defines yoga totally from the Patanjali point of view, not even understanding that Patanjali was only the compiler, not the inventor of the Yoga. It is similar to the case where Vedvyasa compiled the Vedas in the written form during the start of Kaliyuga, before which they were originally passed from the sage to disciple in an oral tradition.

David Frawley, one of the most revered spiritualist and a sanskrit scholar, known as Pandit Vamdev states in his article “The Original Teachings of Yoga: From Patanjali Back to Hiranyagarbha”, “Several Upanishads like the Katha are said to be Yoga Shastras, besides numerous Yoga Upanishads that also do not emphasize Patanjali. The Puranas contain sections on Yoga said to be authoritative in nature as well and do not give importance to Patanjali. When such texts teach Yoga, they often do so with quotes from the older Vedas.

This means that the Patanjali Yoga Darshana is a later subset of the earlier Hiranyagarbha Yoga Darshana. It is not a new or original teaching, nor was it ever meant to stand on its own. The topics addressed in it from yamas and niyamas to dhyana and samadhi are already taught in detail in the older literature. In the Mahabharata (Shanti Parva 316.7), the sage Yajnavalkya speaks of an eightfold Yoga taught in the Vedas. The Shandilya Upanishad refers to an eightfold or ashtanga Yoga but does not mention Patanjali.

Mr.Koenraad Elst doesn’t realize that Yoga is not just a mental or a physical exercise alone but the union of both i.e mind and body for the better health and improvement of one’s own consciousness. The words like ‘Paranormal powers’ can only be used by someone who understands zilch about the Indian sciences. Controlling one’s own hunger is also Yoga. In the history of India, there were people who did Hinger strike for more than one week which was called as a ‘miracle’ by the doctors practicing modern medicine. e.g the hunger strike by Anna in 2011 for 12 days because of which he lost more than 5 kgs, hunger strike by Anna hazare in 2003 for more than 10 days, hunger strike by Swami Nigamanand for more than 70 days etc.

The terms like ‘magician’ are often used by the illiterates who have not understood the science. As per Indian sages, yoga is also a science and Mr. Elst seems to be making casual remarks by divorcing physical contortions from Yoga.

He then opines, “Yet, the claim that yoga dates back to “2500 BC” pertains precisely to the visual depiction of a well-known yogic posture. It very obviously refers to the Harappan “Pashupati seal” showing someone (claimed to be Shiva Pashupati, “Lord of Beasts”, as he is surrounded by animals) sitting in siddhâsana, which simply means sitting on the floor with the legs crossed and knees touching the floor. This leg position takes some training for people in a colder climate, and Westerners only encounter it in yoga classes; but it comes naturally to people in a hot climate. In India you constantly come across tailors sitting in that posture for their work. So, though this posture is found to be conducive to keeping the spine straight and freeing the body from stresses hindering meditation, there is nothing exclusively yogic about it.………….I don’t think any other asana postures except those for simply sitting up straight have been recorded before the late-medieval Gheranda Samhita, Hatha Yoga Pradipika and such. In the Bhagavad-Gita, Krishna calls on Arjuna to “become a yogi”, but he gives no instructions in postures or breathing exercises. Libertines practising the whole range of Kama Sutra postures got more exercise in physical strength and agility than the yogis of their age, who merely sat up straight and forgot about their bodies.

Siddhasana is one the most important Yogic postures which was practiced by many Siddhas (perfect yogins). It helps in controlling the emotions as well as the sexual energy. It has four variations : the guptasana, vajrasana, Baddhayonyasana and the Kshemasana.

Bhagvada Gita Chapter 4, verses 26-28 state,

“Monists offer into the fire of self-purification of the mind by yoga, ignited by the urge for self-realization; all the senses and their actions as well as the life breath and its functions. There are others donating their possessions in charity as sacrifice; performing austerities and penance as sacrifice, practicing the eightfold mystic yoga system as sacrifice and studying the Vedas and aquiring transcendental knowledge as sacrifice; all enlightened beings and the performers of strict vows. Some others offer the outgoing breath to the incoming breath and the incoming breath to the outgoing breath; in this way checking the flow of both the incoming and outgoing breaths they arduously practice breath control. Others strictly reducing their food intake offer the senses into the life breath.”

Bhagvad Gita Chapter 6, verses 11-14 state,

“In a sacred and purified place after establishing a seat neither too high nor too low of kusa grass, deerskin or natural cloth; thereupon sitting firmly on that seat controlling the mind and activities of the senses making the mind one pointed; one in realization should meditate by the science of uniting the individual consciousness with the Ultimate Consciousness for purifying the mind. Holding the body, head and neck straight, umoving and stable, gazing upon the tip of the nose and not glancing in any direction, fixed in the vow of celibacy, with an unagitated mind, fearless, completely subduing the mind; the renunciate should sit concentrating the mind upon me the Supreme Lord as the Ultimate Goal.”

What Mr. Elst doesn’t realize is that “breath control” is one of the basic building blocks of Yoga for the stillness of mind and bodily control. The Bhagvad Gita not only summarizes the Vedic thought but also the Yogic branch. It connotes that the Yoga practice was known at the time of Mahabharata and we can obviously see, in above verses from Bhagvad Gita, Lord Krishna “briefing” about the posture and checking the flow of the breath which is contrary to Mr.Elst’s casual remarks.

Yoga is not about “sitting up straight and forgetting one’s body”, but controlling one’s own body as well as mind. One cannot control his breathing if he forgets about his lungs, his heart beat if he forgets about his heart and even for bodily maintenance action is required [BG 3.8].

In his article, he further states, “Much of Tantra is a Chinese import that has been so thoroughly indianized, e.g. by personifying various energy centres as “gods”, that Indians and Westerners haven’t even noticed its newness vis-à-vis Vedic or otherwise anciently Indian tradition.” He concludes, “As late as the 19th century, novelties were added to the array of hatha yoga techniques, partly under the influences of British military drill. Particularly the standing techniques are mostly late additions. Consider hatha yoga a modern innovation.

One may wonder, if Koenraad Elst even knows the basics of Yoga, Indian sciences, history and tradition. He seems to making casual remarks which can be seen as a mockery of ancient Indian sciences. It wouldn’t be surprising if he says next that yoga is not a part of ancient Indian tradition.

In other cases, Koenraad Elst seem to be mocking researchers like PN Oak in his article on “The Incurable Hindu Fondness for PN Oak” with words like ‘amateur’ and phrases like ‘child misunderstanding a text’ and only superficially questioning the existing indepth articles by him. He talks about Latin, greek and Sanskrit in context of PN Oak’s research, but not about how old each of these languages or the corresponding civilizations are to be arguing on the import and export of the linguistic words in his article.

Vedic timeline states the entire cycle of four yugas as 4320000 years and originally the vedic knowlede was passed in oral tradition. Mahabharat itself is stated to be atleast 5500 BC old and some puranas we have the mention of dinosaur like creatures too. The exact age of Rigveda alone is still unknown. In his little comparison of languages, he fails to point if latin and greek literature have similar events and traditions as presented extensively by the shruti and the smriti cannon in Sanskrit. He questions the architecture of Taj-mahal as it doesn’t conforms to the “Hindu building, Hindu site, Hindu temple past”. He doesn’t question its name, history and the vedic inscriptions as shown in the PN Oak’s articles.

One might ask Mr.Elst as to what exactly is a “Hindu temple design”? Many Indians percieve ancient temples as a place for Vedic research. The Sun temple, Konark, has a sundial which presents the time of the day. Many sages performed research on consciousness via meditation, chanting mantras whose sound needs to precise with particular frequency and length. It has been established that the Egyptian civilization had a striking similarity with the Vedic civilization.

The research by R. Balasubramaniam of the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur [8] shows that

– The unit of length called angulam — mentioned in Kautilya’s treatise Arthasastra dated 300 BC — was used without a break by Indian builders for over 3,900 years until the British imposed their units in the 18th century.

– Angulam and its multiples vitasti (12 angulams) and dhanus (108 angulams) have been used as the unit of measurement right from the Harappan times till the pre-modern era when the Taj was built

– 1,600-year-old Delhi Iron Pillar at the Qutub Minar complex, found that angulam and its multiple dhanus were used as the basic units of length in its design. For example, the total height of the pillar is exactly 4 dhanus

– The modular plan of the Taj Mahal complex is based on use of grids of sides measuring 60 and 90 vitasti

– The design and architecture of the Taj is based on traditional Indian units codified in Arthasastra and that “there is nothing foreign” in its design

History has been a witness that Mughals imposed an Islamic structure on the top of a destroyed temple. Why would Islamists employ a Vedic system as in Taj Mahal or Qutub Minar? In their article, “The Question of the Taj Mahal” By P. S. Bhat and A. L. Athawale [9], it states

“In addition to the lotus canopy over the dome, there are many other symbolic and sculptural details in the Taj Mahal which are quite appropriate in a Siva temple.14 Some of them are quoted below:

(i) Recess above the entrance: In the southern entrance to the outer precincts of the Taj Complex (i.e., the Taj Gunj gate facing the main gateway), above the door arch, there is a small arched recess. It is customary in Hindu Forts (for example, the Nagardhan Fort, Nagpur) to place an idol of Lord Ganesa in a similar recess above the main entrance. Could it be that the recess above the Taj entrance also contained a similar idol, which was subsequently removed by the iconoclastic invaders?

(ii) The Rajput Welcome Signs: The walls of the main gateway and the “kitchen” in the great courtyard are marked with typical Rajput welcome signs, such as the “gulab-dani” (rose-water cans) and “ilaichi-dani” (cardamon pots). The Rajput palaces at Deeg (Bharatpur) and Jaipur also contain similar welcome signs.

(iii) Ganesa Torana: On the main gateway, the entire border at waist-height is decorated with what is called the “Ganesa Torana” (the elephant trunk and the crown can be clearly identified). It is noteworthy that animate decorations are taboo in Islam.

(iv) Other sculptural details: Upon the marble walls of the central edifice, there are sculptural details of flowers in the shape of OM and bell flowers which is of great significance in the worship of Lord Shiva.

(v) The pinnacle: On top of the central dome of the Taj Mahal, there is a copper pinnacle which measures a height of 32′ 5 ½”. On the eastern red-stone courtyard, in front of the community hall, there is a figure of the pinnacle inlaid in black marble which measures a length of only 30′ 6″.”

It seems Mr.Elst relates ‘Hindu architecture’ to some set of similar ‘temples’ having a defined design and thus undermining other plethora of architectures that India is famous for like Jantar mantar, Konark, qutab minar (Dhruv Stambh/Vishnu dhwaj) etc. Perhaps for him, the egyptian civilization and architecture too cannot be Vedic in nature as they do not have a tag of “Hindu building” on them.

It may be noted that by the use of term “Hindu building”, his abrahamic framework and twisted logic, he has not only reduced the Vedic science and architecture which has influenced a large parts of the world, but also creating a mockery of Hinduism by relating it to some static defined design as in ‘Hindu building, Hindu site, Hindu temple past’. The Vedic science and architecture has influenced the whole world. Are those influences lesser because they don’t bear a tag “Hindu” on them? Just because Taj doesn’t look like a traditional temple, is it necessary it cannot be based on a Vedic design or a Vedic architecture?

LIN YUTANG (CHINESE SCHOLAR), “India was China’s teacher in religion and imaginative literature, and the world’s teacher in trignometry, quandratic equations, grammar, phonetics, arabian nights, animal fables, chess, as well as in philosophy, and that she inspired Boccaccio, Goethe, Herder, Schopenhauer, Emerson, and probably also old Aesop.”

Dr. D. T. SUZUKI (JAPANESE/ZEN SCHOLAR): “The study of Japanese thought is the study of Indian thought.”

Koenraad Elst though writes pro-Hindu article ‘politically’, but his work cannot be blindly promoted.

References :

1. http://vepa.us/dir00/interview1.htm

2. http://koenraadelst.blogspot.com/2010/08/origins-of-hatha-yoga.html

3. http://www.bhagavad-gita.org/

4. http://satyamyoga.com/hathayoga.htm

5. http://www.sivanandaonline.org/public_html/?cmd=displaysection&section_id=1248

6. http://www.clubpatanjali.net/asanas.html

7. http://www.vedanet.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=133&Itemid=2

8. http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090906/spectrum/main4.htm

9. http://www.stephen-knapp.com/question_of_the_taj_mahal.htm

10. http://www.veda-academy.com/articles/vasati/mayas_pyramids.htm

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70 Responses to "Yoga, Indian Sciences, Vedas and Tradition – Koenraad Elst: Mistaken Identity?"

  1. DieSoft says:

    Hey DieHard,

    This is for you. Your crap in your face.

    Q & A: Meaning, Significance of Shiva Linga (Shiv Ling)

  2. Harish Kumar says:

    The fact of the matter is, to first defend Hinduism, there ought to be hindus. And I don’t think there has been anybody in the world who has contributed as much to the defence of the Hindus as Koenraad Elst. He has been greatly responsible for the intellectual defence of Hindus and Hindutva as well as the Ram Temple Movement and clearly disproving allegations that the RSS or even Hindus were fascist.

    His success in defending hindus/hinduism/hindutva is largely due to the tools of western scholarship, the rigor it demands in arguments, research and also importance given to evidence. Clearly when he begins to analyse Yoga, he would have to use the same tools and not simply quote authority, otherwise he would be accused of intellectual dishonesty.

    The same tools of western scholarship which enables the successful defence of the Hindutva movement would also make strict demands of evidence when it comes to studying the history of Yoga. And if only one posture is available as evidence, well it has to be said as such by K.Elst. He cannot abandon evidence just to make the Hindus he loves look good, it would be intellectually dishonest. I don’t think it is fair to accuse him of having a “hidden agenda”.

    This article basically reflects the conflicts that exist in the world, such as East vs West, Materialism vs Spirituality, Tamil vs Sanskrit,Regionalism vs Nationalism, Intuition vs Intellect…etc, which is all a product of the binary creation presided over by the Mind. Solutions to these conflicts cannot be found under the present system, but only in the Supermind. Supermind integrates opposites and presents a holistic vision by putting “each thing in its place”.

    It puts an end to all regional fanaticism and nationalistic impositions and balances perfectly the One and the Many.

    But to have this Integral Vision one needs to accept the “New Way” or “Third Way” which goes beyond the “pairs of opposites”. But by rejecting the claims of the Third in the Solar Line you have closed your mind to any possibility of having this vision and this closing out is inevitable since Mind is the regent with most of Mankind. Either you need to make an effort or be saved by Divine Grace.

    Till then its going to be East vs West, Politics vs Spirituality, and such pairs of opposites for you till you decide to break away from the regency of the Mind

  3. Harish Kumar says:

    Actually, Koenraad Elst is more Indian than his Indian detractors. What makes Indians unique in this world? Clearly it is the Yogic vision and looking at things from the Yogic point of view. While most Indians have ridiculed Prophet Mohammad, have called him insane and mentally ill, how many have traced it to side-effects of Yoga?

    Only K.Elst amongst all of them, developed the line of thinking that problems in “Wahi” or trance states caused Mohammad to spew the nonsense that is the Quran. Of course, this is not original in the sense that this was proposed by Swami Vivekananda and Elst built upon it. But should’nt this have been done by an Indian? As a westerner Elst should have stuck with psychiatric assessment of Prophet Mohammad and should have concluded that he was suffering from bi-polar schizophrenia, but he chose to find the source of Mohammad’s ridiculous ideology in the trance state.

    Thus while Elst may not know sanskrit and he might be a poor scholar in spiritual subjects, at least he approaches the subject of Mohammad from the Yogic trance states which the Indians with their degrees in sanskrit and deep knowledge of scriptures could not do. Or were plainly afraid to do so, did not want to jeopardise their careers or their lives by following that particular line of argument.

  4. Harish Kumar says:

    The proper way to counter Elst would be that, while the external postures may be imported, what makes Hatha Yoga Yoga is that all this is done with the aim of achieving soul realisation. British drills performed with the intention of steadying the body and mind to reach higher goals constitute Yoga, but performing traditional asanas with the aim of improving one’s health or losing weight as many Indians do, is not Yoga.

    B.K.Iyengar may have imported Indian drills, but it was him (and not the Britishers) who saw in them a way to reach soul realisation and modified it accordingly. So modern Hatha Yoga does have a connection with the ancient Yoga even though the postures may be imported as the goal is the same as the ancients had.

  5. Play Hard says:

    Another worthless ignorant Hindu among 1.2 billion brain-impaired ones.

  6. anon says:

    The sources below are not the last word on Hatha Yoga origins and its postures. An abundance of information is available online about the beginnings of Hatha Yoga and the genesis of asanas. The following two sites are quick and useful resources.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hatha_yoga

    http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Hatha_Yoga_Pradipika/1

  7. anon says:

    The sources below are not the last word on the
    origins of Hatha Yoga and its physical postures.
    There is an abundance of information available online
    about the beginnings of Hatha Yoga and the genesis
    of its asanas. The two sites below are a quick and
    useful resource.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hatha_yoga

    http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Hatha_Yoga_Pradipika/1

  8. Animesh Gupta says:

    Koenraad is spiritually devoid. The refutation of Koenraad can be found on multiple sites

    http://bharatendu.com/2010/12/19/patanjali/
    http://bharatendu.com/2011/01/02/yoga-asana-the-hindu-legacy/

  9. Amit says:

    Its not difficult to see why hindus from india are in the pits and are being used as toilet paper by indian politicians. Simply because they’re too dumb. Here you have a man with everything to loose defending hindus and you have these sickos pilling heaps of abuses on him just because he says something they don’t like. More interested in hearing juju magic theories, hindus have their priorities completely turned upside down. While Elst might be wrong, there is a way to defend your theories. You people are behaving like a bunch of wise cracks who have nothing better to do. Out of all pro Hindu writers, Elst is one of the few who puts the our own homegrown marxists on a backseat by using modern science to prove that their theories are bunk and yet this man isn’t good enough because he is not a Hindu. Well so what if he us not a Hindu? Does that send him to an eternal hell that you people are waiting to save his soul. Shame on all of you.

  10. Amit says:

    Animesh, you might not be aware but the person who runs the bharatendu blog is a great admirer of Elsts work. The same Elst who you say is spiritualy void. Well in that case Veer Savarkar was also spiritualy void, because he was a declared atheist. Hinduism is not a theistic tradition while not being anti theistic either, all educated hindus know this for a fact. In some ways Elst is far more hindu than many of the so called born hindu drohis who leave no stone unurned to willify hinduism.
    I don’t necessarily agree with everything that Elst writes, nor do I accept his or anyone else’s writings without criticaly examining them.

  11. anon says:

    @Amit says:
    February 16, 2012 at 11:21 AM

    “Does that send him to an eternal hell that you people are waiting to save his soul.”
    ———————————————————————-

    There is no eternal hell and there is no saving anybody’s soul in Hinduism. And you are accusing others of being too dumb.

    Hindu beliefs can be summed up ths way: Each according to his intellect and the sum total of his acquired knowledge.

  12. Girdhar says:

    @Amit : Stop whining like an old hag. Discuss the points raised in the article or shue away instead of blaming Indians. Macaulayites like you are the biggest reason that practising christians like Koenraad are freely abusing and namecalling people like PN Oak who had not only rediscovered Indian heritage and pride but also gave profound proofs.

    When you say “Hindus from India”, explains your whole personality, the ‘max muller syndrome’ that you suffer from. Yoga is central to the Indian heritage and Koenraad distorting and demeaning Yoga and Yogic asanas cannot be ignored or forgotten.

    Shame on You for being so casual.

    It is because of people like you that Indian sciences are getting distorted and destroyed and pride broken into little smithereens.

  13. MANGIPUDI VASUDEV RAO says:

    The Hindus who include the followers of native faiths have developed the thought processes through syncretism , and for a layman or outsider, this presents a picture of confusion. Even after the arrival of Hebraic religions , the process of syncretism continued albeit feebly as the Hindus by then lost their spiritual vigour to absorb the tides from others. The vedic Aryans would have faced the situation in this globalised world in their typical way by opening the windows of their mind and syncretised the thoughts from wherever they came. There is an urgent need for the modern Hindus to develop a robust tool of debate , an ancient art long forgotten to develop a robust fearless mind to face the challenges of modern world , instead of putting a condition that a Hindus is only well fitted to speak on matters of religion of this land (India). Adiguru Shankaracyarya did not convert himself to various sects/religions when he faced the protagonists of various sects in the debate rooms. He won the victory only by empowering himself first by understanding his roots and then understanding the point of view of the others. Instead of living in the past , it is better for us Hindus to understand the past in the light of the modern knowledge and tools of scholarship available to us. What is the hard if learn from the experience of others. The European renaissance started when the renaissance masters dusted their heritage and delved deep into the past without doubting themselves and looked at the past from the present . On the basis of epics , they have excavated the places and located the places . They identified Troy in Turkey, which is now protected by the Turkish government. But any such attempt in our context does not find support from the people or the Government and such attempts are ridiculed. It is not enough to have historical legacy. It is much more important to understand our past with a critical eye and protect it in a meaningful way for courage of conviction is a pre-requisite. We are never tired of talking about heritage, but a glance at places of our heritage like the buildings , monuments etc are scribbled or scratched and thus defaced and the record of the Archeological survey is hardly commendable. The reality is that in a globalized world , we can hardly remain insular and unconcerned to the happening in other parts of the world. The Hindus have always lived in the cocoon . During their long history, they never left the shores of India and tried to understand the world in its term , except on one or occasions , when the kings from southern India sent naval fleets to Ceylon and, Cambodia etc , which hardly has any impact. The Indians left the shores only for religious preaching. Hence India remained a easy prey of marauders, the uncivilized huns, Hu-chis , the mongols and the Portuguese, English etc. first through Khyber and then through sea-route. For assimilation of cultures , we have to be strong and knowledgeable first other we would be like a dry leaf. If we are to occupy a place of pride in the polity of nations with head held high , we have to undergo through a strong surgical process by taking out all that puss accumulated in our body politic , going by the stuff spirituality. We have to explore our spirit through actual living rather than spending time hearing scriptures like Bhagwad Gita. Bhagwad gita is a treatise on doing with learning and not learning along. It is not for the old decrepit people. If we are sincere , let us live a life and be a living legend .

  14. India has thousands of pandits who recite whole texts of all the vedas and have vast knowledge of upanishads, puranas etc.,learnt though rote system of study , which the world has discarded. While there is no denying the fact that the very method which has lost its utility has held preserving and protecting our heritage, and the people protected it are certainly praiseworthy for their self-less efforts since they have continued the practice even when there was no money to be made and the condition at preset is worst in the absence of absolute lack of patronage. But it is more unfortunate that the so called progressives and moderns who take pride in degrees from the so called prestigious universities and claim monopoly and pass for the all-knowing dry academicians and who are only invited in any forums are also not much helpful and their achievement is also questionable.
    The ancient knowledge in its pristine purity and its methods of scholarship should be have been wedded with the modern methods of scholastic rigours ,but no such attempt is visible or at least entrenched. The attempts by the reformists of eighteen centrury has faded in no time and vanished with the death of its founders , such as Raja Rammohan Roy, Keshab Chandra Sen, Swami Dayanad Saraswati et all. The role of the so called modern temples of learning of India -Universities – are questionable. Much like in India , they are neither modern in their outlook or traditional. After Independence , no university could shine as an example of post Indian renaissance continuing the work of pre-Independence era started the patriotic Indians like Swami Vivekananda , because the tag Swami was attached to his name. This is just one example.We have at least Koeraad Elst somewhere in the world , who is waging our war. Pakistan has perpetrated 26/11 and we expected the Americans to fight our war after the killing of Bin Laden. It is so easy to criticize anybody , but the important part of it is to prove our mettle independently by learning from all sources.

  15. Girdhar says:

    ALBERT EISTEIN (SCIENTIST): “When I read the Bhagavad-Gita and reflect about how God created this universe everything else seems so superfluous.”

    ROBERT OPPENHEIMER (THEORETICAL PHYSICIST): “Access to the Vedas is the greatest privilege this century may claim over all previous centuries. The general notions about human understanding… which are illustrated by discoveries in atomic physics are not in the nature of things wholly unfamiliar, wholly unheard of or new. In ‘Hindu’ thought they have a more considerable and central place. What we shall find [in modern physics] is an exemplification, an encouragement, and a refinement of old wisdom.”

    WERNER HEISENBERG (FATHER OF QUANTUM PHYSICS, Nobel Prize winner): “After the conversations about Indian Philosophy, some of the ideas of Quantum Physics that had seemed so crazy suddenly made much more sense.”

    ERWIN SCHRODINGER (PHYSICIST), awarded the Nobel prize in Quantum Mechanics, in 1933. He said “The unity and continuity of “Vedanta” are reflected in the unity and continuity of wave mechanics. In 1925, the world view of physics was a model of a great machine composed of separable interacting material particles. During the next few years, Schrodinger and Heisenberg and their followers created a universe based on super imposed inseparable waves of probability amplitudes. This new view would be entirely consistent with the Vedantic (Veda) concept of All in One.”

    BRIAN DAVID JOSEPHSON (PHYSICIST, Nobel Laureate): “The Vedanta and the Samkhya hold the key to the laws of the mind and thought process which are correlated to the Quantum Field, i.e the operation and distribution of particles at atomic and molecular levels.”

    AMIT GOSWAMI (THEORETICAL NUCLEAR PHYSICIST): “Everything starts with consciousness. That is consciousness is the ground of all being”. He wrote a book called ‘The Self Aware Universe: How Consciousness creates the Material World’ which propounds the same Vedic view of Brahman being the ground of all existence, immanent in all things.

    NIKOLA TESLA (SCIENTIST) -contributor to the field of electricity and electromagnetism, influenced by Vedic Science and Philosophy.

    T.S ELLIOT (AMERICAN WRITER): “Indian Philosophers’ subtleties make most of the great European philosophers look like schoolboys.”

    LIN YUTANG (CHINESE SCHOLAR): “India was China’s teacher in religion and imaginative literature, and the world’s teacher in trignometry, quandratic equations, grammar, phonetics, arabian nights, animal fables, chess, as well as in philosophy, and that she inspired Boccaccio, Goethe, Herder, Schopenhauer, Emerson, and probably also old Aesop.” “Not until we see the richness of the Hindu mind and its essential spirituality can we understand India.

    Dr. D. T. SUZUKI (JAPANESE/ZEN SCHOLAR):
    “The study of Japanese thought is the study of Indian thought.”

    HENRY DAVID THOREAU (AMERICAN HISTORIAN, CRITIC AND PHILOSOPHER): “In the morning I bathe my intellect in the stupendous and cosmogonal philosophy of the Bhagavad Gita in comparison with which our modern world and its literature seems puny and trivial.”
    “Most books belong to the house and streets only…But this (Bhagavad Gita) addresses what is deepest and most abiding in man. . . . Its truth speaks freshly to our experience. The sentences are filled with depth and serenity and I am sure they will have a place and significance as long as there is a sky to test them by.”
    “One sentence of the Bhagavad Gita, is worth the State of Massachusetts many times over.”

    ALDOUS HUXLEY (ENGLISH PHILOSOPHER, AUTHOR): “The Bhagavad-Gita is the most systematic statement of spiritual evolution of endowing value to mankind. It is one of the most clear and comprehensive summaries of perennial philosophy ever revealed; hence its enduring value is subject not only to India but to all of humanity.”

    @MANGIPUDI VASUDEV RAO : It is quite clear from your posts that you have neither read Bhagvad-Gita nor undertstand the poetic language of the Vedas and its essence. Your whole rigmarole is just a judgemental monotone and a testimonial of your ignorance of history as well to be using debunked ideas of a political and immature mind like “Aryans” relating to Aryan Invasion. Rote system of study does not connote “learning”as you ignorantly write.

    Better is one’s own law of works, swadharma, though in itself faulty than an alien law well wrought out; death in one’s own law of being is better, perilous is it to follow an alien law ( BG 3.35)

    This Self is not won by exegesis, nor by brain-power, nor by much learning of Scripture. Only by him whom It chooses can It be won; to him this Self unveils its own body. (manduka Upanishad 3.2.3, Page 145)

    When thy intelligence shall cross beyond the whirl of delusion, then shalt thou become indifferent to Scripture heard or that which thou hast yet to hear. When thy intelligence which is bewildered by the Sruti, shall stand unmoving and stable in Samadhi, then shalt thou attain to Yoga. (BG 2.52-53)

    The modern methods are more unscientific in the guise of being scientific where the common approach is observation, testibility and reproducibility. But alas, the modern methods cannot even stand up to the standards of Quantum mechanics. Today, the west if more interested in name and fame where every scientist and researcher is just interested in narrow scope of study that too based on limitedness of material aspect of the nature. Whereas, the Vedic mind had a more holistic understanding where the material was just a subset of Veshishika school of thought, different sages had different ways of arriving at the same ultimate reality and yet not interested in name and fame. Also, do understand the difference between dharma and religion before you start writing ignorantly on the acts of Shankaracharya.
    vedaDOTwikidotDOTcom/dharma-and-religion
    And to burst your bubble, the vedic seers had a connection worldwide – Photograhic evidences can be found on
    http://www.veda.harekrsna.cz/connections/Americas.php
    http://satyavidya.com/vedicnz.htm
    https://www.facebook.com/BharatiyaVastukala?ref=stream
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQuMGjXfF7Y

    Regarding Aryan Invasion :
    Scriptural Refutation – http://www.chakranews.com/aryan-invasion-theory-vedas-and-dravidian-discourse/1581
    Geographical and historical refutation : http://www.stephen-knapp.com/death_of_the_aryan_invasion_theory.htm
    http://www.archaeologyonline.net/artifacts/aryan-invasion-history.html
    Genetic refutation – http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report_new-research-debunks-aryan-invasion-theory_1623744

    So please do what you preach and learn from sources first before you start uttering absolute ignorance. Atleast learn how to research properly before uttering any fantasy that comes to your ignorance. Good sources for you would be

    1. Secret of Vedas by Aurobindo
    2. Tao of Physics by Fritjof Capra
    3. Essays on Bhagvad Gita by Aurobindo

  16. DR.S.H.SHARMA says:

    Shri Koenraad Elst has better understanding about Hindus, Hinduttava,Hinduism and everything attached word Hindu [ heritage, scriptures, culture, traditions,music, languages,history, civilisation, victories,defeats etcs.] than most of Indians in general and Hindus in particular . He has come to defend the Hindus as a neutral and honest human being and we should be grateful for his work which has given us voice and strong weapon with facts and figures to win the argument in a very civilised way.
    Heis a true friend of Hindusthan,the land of Hindus .
    Vandebharat mataram, Jaya Hind.

  17. Dheeraj Kumar says:

    ^^Haha
    Had he been a friend of India he would have researched and not called Hindu knowledge as Chinese or whatever. Thats the problem with these westerners. They do a little bit research and think they know everything. Live in India, feel India, know India and read her past before you speak about India!

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